Comanche the horse at Grapevine Canyon RanchI guess that would have to be, to begin with, one of my own horses, and of course, the head horse here, Comanche. I have had him for some 18 years, and he is now 20, but full of life and baloney – he is the horse I ride out and then dismount, take his bridle off, and we eat grass together, that is, he eats grass and I goof off. He follows me over the pasture – he might stop and eat a bit and then trot to catch up, or he might get ahead and when I call out “Comanch’! Wait for me!”, he stops and turns his head as if to say, “Well, come on, don’t dawdle!” … and he is the love of my life.

Eighteen years ago, before we met, I had a mare I had bought at the sale, by the name of Susie.. Susie was very flashy, which was her main appeal – she was all black, had a white blaze and three white feet, but she was inclined to be a little evil minded. She was Hancock bred, and most horsemen would recognize this as a famous line of bucking horses. Susie didn’t buck, but she was quite a bit cranky. She switched her tail in a bad tempered manner any time I asked her to do anything she considered outside her job description, and her ancestors’ talent began coming to the fore bit by bit in that she began to hump up and goat, and then to pitch a little, and I could see that she was quickly getting on with the family program. One day, when she was tied to the rail, I came up to get her. She saw me coming, and, quick as a flash, swung around, and mashed me against the rail. The head wrangler here at the time saw it, and said “That horse will hurt you one day!” I got a bit thoughtful about this, and shared it with Gerry, who agreed.

About this time we had a guest at the ranch who had gone to a Paint breeding ranch production sale and bought a couple of two year olds, because he couldn’t decide which one he liked better. Eventually he decided for the one who, to me, looked pink, as he was a red roan Paint, if you can imagine such a thing. I didn’t like him at all. The other one was a normal Paint, with a white face and some white on his sides, and he was now for sale.

I was telling Gerry about Susie’s antics and he said, “Why don’t you go and take at look at that Paint?” I had taken a look and I said “But he’s so small!” Susie, you see, was a big, flashy horse. “He’ll grow”, said Gerry.

I bought him, saddled him, though he wasn’t broken in at all – I think he’d had maybe one or two saddles – and rode him home. And fell in love. He didn’t know anything – I had to plow-rein him, but he never offered to do anything unpleasant, and he never has. That was 18 years ago, and we have never been parted. And yes, he grew – both ways. Today he’s tall and somewhat well larded, but as sweet as ever.

We have a new wrangler, by the name of Jim. When he applied for the job, he told Adam, who hired him, that he had a horse. Adam told me later that Jim had looked him in the eye and said: “You know, you find that special horse just once in a lifetime…. I have found him..” Of course, his horse came with him.

Yes, once in a lifetime you find that special horse. For me, his name is Comanche, though I’ve had, and still have, a couple of other great horses – but there is only one who could move into my house with me and be welcome!

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10 Responses to Comanche

  1. don ransenberg says:

    I understand what you mean about the once in a lifetime horse. Everyone one who says this know what is meant by it. I have such a horse. I would not take a million for him. Other than my wife I know what priceless is. We have been through so much that only he and I know. It only takes a look from me and he knows what I want and I know what he needs. Just wanted to share this with you. We will be at the ranch in less than two months and I have already begin to prepare my boy for my absence. don ransenberg

  2. cathy burger says:

    Oh Eve! What a great article… I love to hear Gerry’s stories and comments also about his feelings on horses and general western outdoorsmanship.

    The horses that adopt US are the best friends for life!


  3. cathy ransenberg says:

    I have a theory about “perfect” horses; YOU have to be a worthy owner to get a lifetime companion horse. Having once been severely injured by a horse who was not destined to be my lifetime companion, I now have a horse who tests my patience at times but whom I love with all my heart. Although I’ve ridden most of my life, that one bad experience has left me more anxious about riding and about possible injuries than I ever dreamed I’d be. Hershey has been helping me overcome my fears as I work with him on overcoming HIS fears. We are a true team and I can’t imagine my life without him. Even if I never rode again, we would continue our “walks” in the woods together-me on the ground, him quietly walking beside me. It brings peace to both of us and I know we are friends for life. Cathy

  4. Eve says:

    Thanks, guys, for your lovely comments!! And I will add that Comanche has lately learned how to get into my yard through a makeshift gate. So far he has eaten no roses, only grass, but….I guess he knows he’s special!

  5. Hi Eve. Just had the time to read the blog. Yes you are right. Everybody should be very thankful to have “once in a lifetime horse”. How would you call a person who has two!!! such horses. My greatest wish always was to own a horse. Sure enough as soon as I came from Germany to America I got as a 25th wedding present my “Monty”. He was only three years old and ridden only 10 times. I was as green as you can think about a rider. Everybody always says this doesn’t fit, green horse/green rider. In this case everybody was wrong. Monty is now 18 years and still my little 1200lb baby. He had a very bad accident years ago and cannot go on long trailrides with me (I mean week long rides) so I bought another horse “Cheyenne” from my friend Cheyenne was 5 years at that time. Even they are not related he is as good as Monty and fantastic on trailrides rides. So I have two once in a life time horses. I must have done something good in my life. Brigitte

  6. Betty says:

    I no how you feel my love is a TW by the name of bess she is ornery than all get out and refuses to ride any man but she has never done a thing to hurt me ever one time we rode a trail less traveled and i turned to check on my daughter and she stopped dead in her tracks.. ther was a branch and i would of gotten hurt badly she new and love her everyday for the enjoyment that she gives me but im afraid before long i will not be able to ride her she is now 21 It deeply saddens me for i dont no what i will do without her and how she will react to her replacement

  7. Eve says:

    Hi Betty – thanks for a lovely letter – but I want you to know 21 is not old for a horse these days! My Comanche is now 20 and I still ride him, and I had, for 33 years, a beloved made named Skoshi, whom I rode until she was 34 and she died at 39. So go to it – the more you ride them providing they are sound, the better they feel and the longer they live. Horses like to be useful! Good luck!

  8. Jackie Oke says:

    Hi Eve. I “TOOK” a day off and am up at the community center where we live goofing off. Yah! I just read for the first time the story of how you acquired Comanche. You are right, there is that horse once in a life time that is the very special one. I think I’ve found her but Ray is riding her so far. I met her when she was 4 and just out of a grassy field. She is a chestnut Saddlebred (5 gaited) that I think would make a great trail horse some day. She is a flashy, showy horse that loves the show ring. Only 9 now so she has, good Lord Willin’, lots of time and the head for doing anything we ask of her. Didn’t ever think I would choose a “Show horse” to love, but she is a darling and very smart. And she loves Ray!!! They are so beautiful together. She lives with our trainer in Palmetto, Fl. We see her 4 or more times a week; not bad since we are still very busy and live 30 min or more south, depending on traffic. Anyway just wanted to say Hi and happy belated birthday. GOD BLESS!!!
    Jackie Oke

  9. Eve says:

    Hi Jackie – how nice to hear from you!! And lovely to think that you have found your equine soul mate!
    I tried to call you but couldn’t you – got the answering service instead. Hope all is well – take care and have a great holiday season! Love to you both.

  10. Jean says:

    my best horse was amare named Ebony, best horsen I ever rode. she didn’t like men, but after I rode her for a whi
    , I put m young daughters on her,she was angel
    years later, aten age boy borrowed her, and she fought him all the way home.

    IAAF he’d her die with coli,c after iwalked her al in the rain, colic has scared me ever since had a second chance, an Ayrab stud, namedHustler, I rode him til he was 26,and one long hill on the trail,I thought he’d have a heart attack, so gave up the trails,at thirty he was still coltish, but hay was more attractive than amare in heat.By th age 0f35, is gonads had disappeared.
    we put him down at 37,,he was deaf and blind.

    I hope that on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge he gets his eyes, ears, and bals back.Then I’ll have to decide between him and Ebony.

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